Planned Parenthood is touring the state this week to send a strong message to Missouri’s Senators about current healthcare legislation being debated in Washington.

Planned Parenthood Missouri is asking Missouri and other Senators to not throw women under the bus by organizing a bus tour. Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Michelle Trupiano says the bus rolls into Columbia Tuesday, and hits other key cities in the state to rally opposition throughout the week.

Trupiano says the Stupak amendment, which passed the House, would take away private health insurance coverage for abortion services that women currently have.

Trupiano says legislation is already in place, the Hyde Amendment, that bans federal money from paying for abortion services.

Senator McCaskill has spoken out against the Stupak amendment.

Senator Bond has issued a statement: “Most Americans want lower health care costs — not a government run plan that raises costs and asks taxpayers to subsidize abortion – which is why I am a co-sponsor of this bipartisan amendment.

Trupiano says she thinks the bill can pass the Senate without the Stupak Amendment. Senator McCaskill agrees, saying it’s evident how pro-choice and pro-life Senators will vote. She says this fight is with the moderates.

The “Stop Stupak!” bus tour is kicking off in Central Missouri and will be stopping by Senator Claire McCaskill’s and Senator Kit Bond’s offices in Columbia. Volunteers will be telling the Senators to stop the Stupak ban and protect women’s health care, including access to abortion.

Planned Parenthood will be delivering petitions to McCaskill and Bond asking them to “Stop Stupak!”

In a statement from Planned Parenthood, advocates say, “The Stupak abortion coverage ban passed in the House of Representatives last month and is headed for the Senate. This amendment would prevent millions of women who will be purchasing health insurance through the newly created ‘exchange’ from paying for private health insurance that covers abortion care. The bottom line is that this ban would take away private health insurance coverage that women currently have. For that reason, this amendment violates one of the fundamental elements of health care reform – if you like the health coverage you have now, you can keep it. If this ban succeeds, women will be worse off after health care reform than they are today. American citizens are in dire need of health care reform, however, eliminating choice for millions of women is not reform.”

Jessica Machetta reports [Download / listen Mp3]